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re-installing problems - new partition?


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#1
delawaredrew

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My Dell Inspiron 8600 laptop crashed today and I cannot restart it. It offers the option to restart in safe mode but fails to do it and just brings me back to the same screen. So I tried to use the reinstallation disk as directed in the sticky post on this forum.
After the EULA it gives the option of installing in one of two existing partitions( 32 MB and 8MB) or creating a new one in the unpartioned space (57 GB). When I try to use the existing partitons it tells me the two existing partitions are too small. Is there anyway to repair it at this point? Without losing all my data? If I create a new partiton in the unpartitioned space will data loss be inevitable?
It will not boot into safe mode at all.
Drew
Added: I decided to run the dell diagnostics available in the boot menu and it reported several blocks on the HD as
"uncorrectable data error or media is write protected". Nothing more from diagnostics.

Edited by delawaredrew, 28 December 2005 - 08:37 AM.

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#2
gerryf

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The unpartitioned error is your data/system partition

Something has happened to damage the partition table. As you guessed, reinstalling in that partition will destroy the data

Does your cd give you an option to run a repair using the recovery console?

If so, choose that option and run a chkdsk /r as a first step
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#3
delawaredrew

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gerry- thanks for the reply. I've been reading about the recovery console, but it seemed a little over my head. However I will give chkdsk a try.

I suspect that the problem started because it has had to be restarted by turning the power off several times when it froze coming out of sleep. My gf had just done this when she told me about the failure. I have also had to turn it off several times using that method. I think you may have been the one who advised me off the dangers of that method a few months ago in a discussion about the different sleep levels.
Drew
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#4
gerryf

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turning off the PC with the hardoff button can damage the operating system....is this the machine that we were trying to find a bios update for?

Running chkdsk /r might work
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#5
delawaredrew

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turning off the PC with the hardoff button can damage the operating system....is this the machine that we were trying to find a bios update for?

Running chkdsk /r might work


good memory! There is a BIOS update from Dell but being the world's greatest procrastinator I hadn't gotten around to doing it yet.
chkdsk is running now. Slowly....

There is also a blue screen error message flashed up while starting XP, it comes up immediately before it restarts itself. It is removed too fast to read, is there a way to capture that message?
Drew
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#6
delawaredrew

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gerry-
Good news, you were right on with the chkdsk advice. Windows started normally after chkdsk found and fixed "one or more errors". I haven't tried all the programs yet or seen if any data were lost but all seems to be as it was.
Should I now go through the reinstall process to restore XP to the factory settings since the failure to wake up problem is probably still gonna be there?
I am definitely going to do a full backup onto cd before I do anything else. Tonight I will go ahead with the BIOS update also.
Thank you for your help, I really did not want to lose all the files I have on that laptop.
Drew
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#7
gerryf

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the restore xp to factory ssetting will wipe out your drive....do not do it without complete backup.
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#8
delawaredrew

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OK no restore, how about the repair function that I was trying to access on the XP disk in the beginning? Or is that not useful unless XP is not functional?
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#9
gerryf

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repair will replace update OS files with the original ones--after a repair, you need to reinstall windows updates.

It will not hurt, but I do not think it will help here.

for what seems to be your issue (unless your laptop originally came out of sleep state when it was new, and something messed it up later)
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#10
delawaredrew

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It was a mess of spyware and viruses when my gf's father gave it to us. Someone had tried to fix it before me and had reinstalled XP. I gave up on it and got windows working through a reinstall with the original dell xp disk. But something he or I had done rendered most of the paid programs useless, as they seemed to think they were being used for the first time or were not installed properly and wanted install disks and the like. Besides that, for a while all worked fine, but the failure to wake developed gradually.
Unfortunately I did not note what, if any, changes I had made prior to it becoming unreliable.
I am backing up all the data I want as I type, so maybe a clean install is in the future after all.
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